By Laura Macomber I recently wrote a 45-page paper discussing the paradox of cultural elitism in post-war, post-fascist societies as discussed by three different works of literature: “Todesfuge” (Death Fugue) by Paul Celan, Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman, and The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek. Admittedly, the paper was my senior honors thesis in Comparative Literature and I wrote it for no one but myself and a handful of professors. And though I felt deep concern for the […]
Can a Book Change Your Life for the Worse?
by Willa A. Cmiel The New Statesman has a new list: 50 Books That Will Change Your Life. It’s an attention-grabbing title, that’s for sure. I’m pretty tired of literary lists, but I it’s a catchy name, and I wanted to see if I had read enough for my life to be satisfyingly changed, for the moment, so I glanced at the first title. It was not what I expected. I read The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James when I […]
Bites: Nora Ephron not optimistic, novels about being broke, America still liberal, Antony does Beyonce, problems with the High Line
By Willa A. Cmiel America is still blue. Nora Ephron’s must-reads include The Great Gatsby and Barbara Ehrenreich’s upcoming Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. “Ehrenreich convinced me so completely that I hesitate to say anything so positive as that this book will change the way you see absolutely everything; but it just might.” Another list: The Best Novels About Being Broke. First three are Oliver Twist, Hunger, and, my personal favorite, Down and Out […]
Obama’s Inaugural Address: a Transcendental Fist Bump?
Next month, Obama’s inaugural address will be published by Penguin alongside the literary and historical texts that influenced it. Included in the collection will be three of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches as well as Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance.” While primarily a publisher’s gimmick used to fatten up a short work with older texts that can be acquired for free, Penguin should have gotten a little more creative. The Lincoln connection is an easy one. Obama’s borrowed from him in previous […]